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Adjustment of Status (I-485) Process

Overview

After an immigrant visa number becomes available, the alien employee may file an I-485 Adjustment of Status application to adjust his or her status from non-immigrant status to permanent resident. The alien employee provides his or her personal information and history (and that of any dependents) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS uses this information to determine if there is any reason why permanent residence should not be granted.

NOTE: Receiving an immigrant visa number could take a significant amount of time. For more information, refer to Limits on Immigrant Visa Numbers (Retrogression).

U-M hiring departments and alien employees must select an attorney from the U-M Retained Immigration Counsel list to process the I-485 application.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Immigrant visa number available.
  • Alien employees and their family members must not have been in violation of their immigration status. If the alien or a family member has violated immigration status, consult with an attorney from the U-M Retained Immigration Counsel list.

Documents Needed

Each eligible family member must submit the following to the USCIS:

  • I-485 with two photos that meet USCIS specifications
  • Filing fees
  • Fingerprint fee for each applicant 14 years of age or older
  • G-325A Biographical Information sheet for applicants 14 years of age or older
  • I-693 Medical Form and Supplement sealed in an envelope by the examining physician
  • Copy of the I-797 Approval Notice of Form I-140 or filing fee receipt
  • Copies of all Forms I-94, I-797, every page in each passport held by the individual and any other documents relating to their U.S. immigration status
  • Letter from the employing department giving job title, duties, salary and assurance of continuing employment. The original is submitted with the employee's application, a copy with each dependent's application.
  • Copy of applicable biographic documents with certified English translation if not in the English language:

    • Employee - Birth certificate and, where applicable, marriage certificate, divorce certificate and name change certificate
    • Spouse - Birth certificate and, where applicable, marriage certificate, divorce certificate and name change certificate
    • Child - Birth or adoption certificate
    • Refer to the U.S. Department of State web site to determine what kind of birth, marriage, divorce, adoption or other documents are required by the U.S. government. If a document is listed as “unavailable” then it need not be submitted. In the case of some countries, such as India, where birth certificates may not be available, the applicant must obtain a “certificate of unavailability” from the birth registrar's office and submit this with at least two affidavits from individuals present at the birth (such as parents) attesting to the details of the birth. Such affidavits are also required where the birth was registered at a time far after the birth occurred.
  • Copy of any arrest or conviction record. An immigration attorney will determine if this will affect eligibility for permanent residence.
  • If the employee or a dependent wish to obtain interim employment and/or travel authorization to use in place of the current temporary status, also include:
    • Form I-765 Employment Authorization Document with two photos and a clear copy of an identification document such as a drivers license, state ID card, or recent passport ID page and filing fee.
    • Form I-131 Advance Parole with two photos and a clear copy of an identification document such as a drivers license, state ID card, or recent passport ID page and filing fee (see Travel While an I-485 Application is Pending).
    NOTE: Travel and work authorizations are granted within approximately three months of application and are valid for one year. With USCIS processing times for the I-485 exceeding one year, renewals of the travel and work authorization are normally required.

USCIS vs. U.S. Consulate Processing

Filing an I-485 application can be done through the USCIS Nebraska Service Center or through an interview with the U.S. consulate in the home country. The following chart indicates the primary differences between these two approaches.

Requirement USCIS U.S. Consulate
Interview Generally not required
Required for all family members
Police certificates
(certificates of good conduct)
Not required Required from each country (other than the U.S.) in which the employee has resided for 6 months or more since reaching the age of 16
Interim employment and travel authorization Available while the I-485 is pending Not available

Travel While an I-485 Application is Pending

You should consult with an immigration attorney before traveling outside of the U.S. during the I-485 Adjustment of Status process. For general information, refer to the travel information provided in Immigrant Visa - Permanent Residency.

Last reviewed: 05/13